Unfortunately, patients throughout Pennsylvania and elsewhere sometimes fall victim to medical mistakes. According to American Medical News, preventable surgical errors occur approximately 80 times per week. This may seem like a source of pain for patients and embarrassment for health care providers and facilities. However, based on one study, surgical mistakes may also be a source of income for many hospitals.
Common surgical errors
Despite protocols and other measures aimed at eliminating them, there are numerous surgical mistakes that may occur. Some of the most common of these include the following:
- Operating on the wrong body part
- Unintentionally leaving a foreign object inside a patient
- Performing the wrong procedure
- Operating on the wrong patient
As a result of these errors, and others, patients may suffer worsened or additional medical conditions, as well as death.
Analyzing the profits of surgical errors
Researchers conducted a study to glean an understanding of how hospitals profit from surgical errors. Their findings were published in The Journal of the American Medical Association.
For the study, the researchers analyzed the records of 34,256 patients at 12 Texas Health Resources' hospitals. The people included in the study underwent surgery in 2010. Of the cases analyzed, 1,820 patients experienced complications resulting from a medical error or negligence. The researchers then looked at the revenues, contribution margin and hospital costs for those people in relation to patients who did not suffer complications.
Hospitals benefit from surgical mistakes
Based on the researchers' analysis, surgical errors often translate into profits for hospitals. The New York Times reported that the average revenue for cases involving patients without complications is $18,900. That is over $30,000 less than the average for patients who experienced mistake-related issues. Such cases bring in an average revenue of $49,400 for hospitals.
The increased profits as a result of surgical errors can be attributed to a number of factors. Due to the effects of these types of mistakes, patients may have to stay in the hospital for an extended period of time, undergo additional procedures, or receive ongoing treatment. Even though these treatments are incidental to a medical mistake, insurance companies often still issue payment for the services rendered.
Working with an attorney
As a result of surgical errors, patients in Pennsylvania may suffer harm for which they require additional medical care. Injuries resulting from these types of mistakes may also necessitate more time off of work, and thus, lead to lost income. In some situations, the medical provider or facility may be held liable for these, and other related damages. Therefore, people who have experienced such situations may consider seeking legal guidance to understand their rights and options for pursuing financial compensation.